Poll: Half of Republicans believe they’ll eventually have to “take the law into their own hands”

Over half of Republicans believe that preserving American values will eventually necessitate taking the law into their own hands, according to a recent poll.

Democrats and Republicans equally supported foundational rights such as freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble, but when asked if there would eventually come a time when “patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands,” in defense of the American way of life, 47% of Republicans agreed, while just 9% of Democrats felt the same way.

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“Most of the state and local officials who run our elections are long-time public servants whose goal is simply to help our democracy operate smoothly,” said Danny Hayes, co-director of the GW Politics Poll. “But if we’ve gotten to a place where voters trust the electoral system only when their side wins, then that undermines the idea of non-partisan election administration, which is essential for democracy.”

Republicans showed far less confidence in our elections than Democrats did, with just 20%  of Republicans having confidence in the results of the 2020 elections. Confidence among Democrats ran astronomically higher at over 90%.

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Likewise, opinions about future elections were also very different. 28% of Republicans are confident in the election process looking ahead at the 2022 election, whereas 46% felt that way before the 2020 election. 75% of Democrats are confident in the integrity of the election process for 2022. 

“It is hard to trust the results of elections when so many people will vote for anyone who offers a handout,” one of the poll questions reads. 82% of Republicans agreed. 15% of Democrats agreed. Only 25% of respondents approved of Congress’s performance.

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The most recent survey conducted by GW Politics surveyed 1,753 registered voters from June 4-23, the final wave of a 4-wave panel that began in October 2020 with 2,500 voters. Conducted by YouGov, the survey is matched to produce a nationally representative sample.